Newtown Township

Board of Supervisor Minutes

December 1, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting December 15, 2004. MINUTES OF 12/1/04 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 12/1/04 regular meeting with one change: The second sentence of the Engineer’s Report should read “…is on schedule and the roadway paving should be finished next week.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, December 1, 2004, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Richard Weaver, Vice-Chairman Scott R. Harp, Secretary/Treasurer Anne Goren, Member Thomas Jirele, and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Main Street Manager Chris Ortwein, HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, and Township Manager Robert M. Pellegrino.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Richard Weaver called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.

INVOCATION: Given by Reverend Sandra Reed of St. Mark’s AME Zion Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that adoption of the Police Policy Manual be removed from the Manager’s Report, and authorization to advertise an ordinance reducing the speed limit on Mill Pond Road be added under the Manager’s Report.

SPECIAL ACTIONS: None.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS

MINUTES OF 11/17/04 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 11/17/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST: Mrs. Goren moved to approve bills totaling $672,731.15. The motion was seconded by Mr.Harp and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $278,125.62. The motion was seconded by Mr.Harp and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT: None.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS

JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Main Street Manager Chris Ortwein provided copies of two JDNC documents: “Newtown Main Streets Accomplishments 2004” and “Five Year Strategic Action Plan.” Supervisors also received a promotional video, “William Penn’s Dream” in their packets. Ms. Ortwein said the documents were part of the JDNC’s application for Main Street funding this year. The group requested $45,000 for administration expenses and $30,000 for a design challenge grant. They also requested a $25,000 planning grant to study traffic calming strategies in the Main Streets area. The JDNC has partnered with several groups in the Newtown area on projects designed to promote Newtown as a business, shopping, and tourist destination.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (EDC): Mr. Weaver reported that the EDC is working on the administrative details of a Newtown Business Commons Association.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs presented a recommendation for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - CHURCH OF ST. ANDREW – 135 S. SYCAMORE STREET: Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for landscaping, benches, and walkways in the Prayer Garden at the Church of St. Andrew, 135 S. Sycamore Street, as recommended by the HARB at their 11/9/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

CONDITIONAL USE – COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION REALTY – 5 CAULFIELD PLACE – TMP# 29-10-78: Mr. Weaver opened the hearing. There was no representative of the applicant present.

Mr. Harris explained that the applicant is requesting permission to remove approximately 8,700 cubic yards of topsoil (Use G-15) from a construction site in the OR District. The 11/18/04 Planning Commission letter recommended approval with several conditions.

Mr. Harp moved to grant conditional use approval to Community Association Realty to remove approximately 8,700 cubic yards of topsoil with the following conditions:

  1. The applicant will check with the Township to see if any of the topsoil can be donated to the Township
  2. The Engineer will inspect the site following removal of the topsoil to ascertain if sufficient topsoil remains
  3. The applicant will comply with the 11/8/04 Boucher and James letter
  4. All costs of review will be paid by the applicant

The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele wondered if some of the topsoil could be used at the Woll Tract site. Mr. Pellegrino said he will follow up.

Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Weaver closed the hearing.

PRD VARIANCE – DIPAOLO – 52 COPPERLEAF DRIVE – TMP# 29-29-170: Anthony and Kathleen DiPaolo were present to discuss their request for relief to permit the construction of an addition to the rear of an existing single family home in the Kirkwood PRD in the R-1 District. The addition will increase the maximum impervious surface area from 28% to 33.4%. They are also requesting a variance to allow an existing shed to remain within six feet of both the side yard and the rear yard property lines. Mr. DiPaolo provided a letter from his neighbors stating they have no objection to his request.

Mr. Harp moved to approve increasing the impervious surface on the property at 52 Copperleaf Drive from 28% to 33.4% as shown on the plan submitted (last revised on 11/2/04), with the following conditions:

  1. The applicant will present a mylar to the Township for signature and recording
  2. The applicant will pay all costs of review
  3. The applicant will comply with the 10/22/04 Pennoni Associates letter

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

MEMBERS COMMENTS

BOY SCOUTS: Mr. Harp introduced several members of Boy Scout Troop 29 who were observing the meeting.

WE CARE BEAR PROGRAM: Mr. Harp announced that the teddy bears will be distributed to several police departments on 12/3/04 at Goodnoe Elementary School.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)

William Drew, a representative of Cingular, asked if Cingular’s request for a waiver of land development was on the agenda. Mr. Pellegrino said he will follow up and try to get this item on the agenda for 12/15/04.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN: No report.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS No reports.

MANAGER

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expirations to be addressed tonight.

AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE ORDINANCE – SPEED LIMIT ON MILL POND ROAD: Mr. Pellegrino referred to a 11/29/04 letter from Mr. Sander which reported that it is not necessary to do a traffic study to establish a 25 MPH speed limit on Mill Pond Road.

Mr. Harp moved to authorize the Solicitor to draft and advertise an ordinance reducing the speed limit on Mill Pond Road to 25 MPH. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

PARTICIPATION IN DELAWARE VALLEY HEALTH INSURANCE TRUST: Mr. Jirele moved to advertise an ordinance authorizing the Township to participate in the Delaware Valley Health Insurance Trust as recommended in Mr. Pellegrino’s 11/24/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked about the savings to be realized from participation. Mr. Pellegrino explained that the maximum savings of $52,000 will be realized if the Township joins on 1/1/05; the longer it takes to join, the less savings there will be.

Mr. Jirele asked if the unions have approved this plan. Mr. Pellegrino said the indications are that it is acceptable to the unions, although the Police Union has some concerns about the comparability of the network.

Laura Irwin, a reporter for the Advance, asked who will be affected by this ordinance. Mr. Pellegrino responded that only Township employees are affected.

Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.

PARTICIPATION IN DELAWARE VALLEY INSURANCE TRUST (LIABILITY INSURANCE): Mr. Jirele moved to advertise an ordinance authorizing the Township to participate in the Delaware Valley Insurance Trust (Liability Insurance) as recommended by Mr. Pellegrino’s 11/24/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

DISCUSSION OF 2005 BUDGET: Mr. Pellegrino asked if there are further changes that should be made in the 2005 preliminary budget that was adopted on 11/17/04.

Mr. Goodnoe said he would like to see the budget balanced by reducing expenses, and he asked that Mr. Pellegrino make some recommendations for cutting expenditures. Mr. Jirele said the Board should have approved the balanced budget resolution proposed last year.

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Manager and administrative staff to bring a balanced budget back to the Board at their next meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.

Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren said she also would prefer a balanced budget, but she will not support raising taxes or reducing Police Department staff to accomplish this.

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion failed 2-3, with Mr. Weaver, Mr. Harp, and Mrs. Goren voting “nay.”

Mr. Jirele asked about the status of the RCN settlement money. Mr. Pellegrino said it is invested and will not go into the general fund. He is waiting for direction from the Board as to how to use the funds, which total about $870,000. Mr. Goodnoe said he understood $100,000 of the funds already was put in the general fund to address the 2004 deficit.

Mr. Jirele said he would like the Board to discuss the disposition of the funds as soon as possible so that the Manager will have clear direction about their disposition. Supervisors agreed to schedule this discussion for the January 2005 work session.

SOLICITOR

PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE 2004-O- 26 AMENDING CONCRETE CURB AND SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION SPECIFICATIONS: Mr. Harris provided copies of an ordinance that amends the Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance to require that curb gutters and sidewalks be constructed of 4,000 P.S.I. concrete, and to add design criteria for concrete used for curb gutter and sidewalk construction. A 11/4/04 Planning Commission letter recommended enactment of this ordinance.

Mrs. Goren moved to enact Ordinance 2004-O-26. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Smith to explain the rationale for the ordinance. Mr. Smith said there have been many concrete failures in the Township and elsewhere, and the ordinance will reduce these occurrences. Mr. Pellegrino said the ordinance does not cover walkways on private property.

Mr. Goodnoe also asked why slag is mentioned as an acceptable material in the ordinance. Mr. Smith responded that it is not used much in this area. However, it is acceptable as part of the base material but not as part of the concrete.

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.

ENGINEER

MONTHLY REPORT: Mr. Smith provided a report on current engineering projects in the Township and highlighted two projects. The Lower Silver Lake Road pipe culvert project is on schedule and should be finished next week. The road should reopen in mid-January, depending on the weather. Stoopville Road, closed for work on Linton Hill Chase (the McLaughlin Tract), has been reopened; the detour signs will be removed on 12/6/04. There are some drainage problems that will require correction.

OLD BUSINESS: None.

NEW BUSINESS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, questioned why the Board did not vote for a balanced budget. He suggested that spending for parks be cut rather than reducing Police Department staff.

Mr. Pellegrino said that cutting the Parks and Recreation budget would have no impact on the general fund budget since they are funded by separate taxes and fees. One option for balancing the budget would be to cut the recreation general fund budget, which would involve closing the department and moving the millage to the general fund. He pointed out that recreation impact fees can be used only for park development and open space acquisition.

Mr. Goodnoe said the 2005 budget shifts one mill of debt service taxes to Parks and Recreation, and he objects to this and would prefer that this mill be used to build up the Township’s debt service fund.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Pellegrino said there is no need for an executive session tonight.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.

 

 Respectfully Submitted:

 

 ____________________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

Minutes Approved as submitted __________ as corrected___________

 

Attest: _________________________                                                         ___________________________
           Robert M. Pellegrino, Manager                                                            Richard Weaver, Chairman

 

                                                                                                                        ___________________________
                                                                                                                        Scott R. Harp, Vice-Chairman

 

                                                                                                                         ___________________________
                                                                                                                        Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer

 

                                                                                                                        __________________________
                                                                                                                        Thomas Jirele, Member

 

                                                                                                                        __________________________
                                                                                                                        Raymond Goodnoe, Member